Divorce Attorney Scott J. Stadler

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You and your spouse each have a responsibility to support your children in accordance with their needs and your financial abilities. Child support may be by direct payment, such as cash or check, or by indirect benefits, such as mortgages payments and insurance.

Ordinarily the obligation to support a child ends when that child reaches eighteen, marries, or becomes financially independent. However, child support may continue beyond the child’s eighteenth birthday. If the child is still in high school after turning eighteen and has a reasonable likelihood of graduating before age nineteen, than child support continues until the child graduates, but child support does not continue beyond the child’s nineteenth birthday. In addition to basic child support, the parents have an obligation to pay for daycare expenses and medical expenses of the child.

When a parent who is ordered to pay child support fails to pay, the parent who should have received the child support may not deny timesharing to the non-paying parent. Florida Statute 61.13(4)(a). This means that the right to spend time with a child is not contingent upon payment of child support. Many people refuse to comply with a timesharing schedule because the other spouse has not paid child support. There is no legal basis to do this. Denying timesharing to a non-paying parent will likely hurt your case in court. It is no defense to the denial of timesharing that you did not receive your child support. The reason is that the relationship between the child and the non-paying parent is greater than the support obligation. Our legislature and the courts are highly sensitive to the detriment to a child for interfering with the child relationship with the non-paying parent.

The term “income” is defined under Florida Statute 61.046(8) as any form of payment to an individual, regardless of source, including, but not limited to: wages, salary, commissions and bonuses, compensation as an independent contractor, worker’s compensation, disability benefits, annuity and retirement benefits, pensions, dividends, interest, royalties, trusts, and any other payments, made by any person, private entity, federal or state government, or any unit of local government. United States Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits and reemployment assistance or unemployment compensation, as defined in chapter 443, are excluded from this definition of income except for purposes of establishing an amount of support.

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